Peter George’s “In Steely Defence of Hamilton”

Hey guys,

There is a letter to the editor from Peter George on the Globe and Mail website. It is in response to a previous article on the newspaper about the shut down of U.S. steel plant Stelco and its devastation brought upon the “steel-industry reliant industrial community of Hamilton”. Click to see the article

The following is Peter George’s response:

Web-Web-exclusive letter: In steely defence of Hamilton

When I saw Hamilton described as a “steel-industry reliant industrial community” (Lakeside Puts Stelco Assets In Sights – Report on Business, Aug. 6), I checked the date on the newspaper to make sure it came from this century.

It’s no secret that Hamilton, Ont., has a proud history as a manufacturing centre. At its zenith, it provided steel to all of North America to satisfy the continent’s building binge. That was then. But this is now, and now is completely different.

For the past six years, during manufacturing’s decline, a speedy up-swing has been happening in Hamilton in the areas of education, research and health care, so much so that McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences are now among the largest employers in the city. There are three renowned postsecondary institutions – McMaster University (one of four Canadian universities in the Top 100 in the world), Mohawk College and Redeemer College.

Hamilton is more white coat than blue collar. Its lakeshore has undergone remediation. Its air quality is sometimes better than it is in cottage country. But the hoary jokes persist and we Hamiltonians are left rolling our eyes in frustration.

Hamilton today is dramatically different from the image perpetuated in the media. You will see people biking, rollerblading and walking along the Waterfront Trail; sail boats, canoes and the odd motor boat in a forest-sheltered bay; the rich architectural heritage downtown and through leafy, residential neighbourhoods; the masterful renovation of the Art Gallery of Hamilton; colourful cafés, dining patios and quaint shops; the vibrant monthly Art Crawl on James Street North; outdoor concerts in Gage Park; factories being turned into lofts and theatre space. The vibe of the people attests to the growth and migration here of both a creative and a research class. Peter George, president and vice-chancellor, McMaster University, Hamilton

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